Development Aid, Effectiveness, and Inequalities in Conflict-Affected Societies (DEAFIN)

Led by Henrik Urdal
Jan 2016 - Dec 2019
​​How do aid providers address systematic horizontal (group) inequalities in their work, and does aid help alleviate such inequalities?

The project builds on the Armed Conflict and Maternal Health project, Marie Curie ITN, and inequality mapping exercise for USAID. There has been extensive data collection - both of quantitative and qualitative data - prior to the project start-up.

There is a particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda.

​This 4-year project is funded by the Research Council of Norway

Global partners
  • Economic Policy Research Centre, Makerere University (Uganda)
  • Department of Political Science and Administrative Studies, University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria)
  • Center for Population Studies, Addis Abeba University (Ethiopia)

International Advisory Board
  • Johanne Sundby, International Health, UiO
  • Sunniva Engh, History of DA, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies
  • Frances Stewart, Development Economics, University of Oxford

Research Package 1 
How do different forms of inequality affect the distribution of Development Aid?

Research Question 1.1 
What are the key patterns in the distribution of DA in Sub-Saharan Africa and how are they associated with horizontal inequalities? 
Research Question 1.2
How does the understanding of inequalities affect the institutional priorities shaping where DA is distributed? 

Research Package 2
How does DA affect group inequalities?

Research Question 2.1 
How does the distribution of development aid affect horizontal inequalities in countries with and without a history of violent conflict?
Research Question 2.2 
How does development aid influence local-level health outcomes, including health inequalities between ethnic and religious groups?

Research Groups


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Østby, Gudrun; Olga Shemyakina; Andreas Forø Tollefsen; Henrik Urdal & Marijke Verpoorten (2021) Public Health and Armed Conflict: Immunization in Times of Systemic Disruptions, Population and Development Review. DOI: 10.1111/padr.12450.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Helga Malmin Binningsbø; Haakon Gjerløw; Francis Mwesigye; Tony Odokonyero & Gudrun Østby (2021) Maternal Health Care Among Refugees and Host Communities in Northern Uganda: Access, Quality, and Discrimination, Frontiers in Global Women's Health 2.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Elisabeth Lio Rosvold & Halvard Buhaug (2020) Development Aid, Drought, and Coping Capacity, Journal of Development Studies 56(8): 1578–1593.
Hoelscher, Kristian & Terefe Degefa (2020) Development Aid and Health Equity in Ethiopia, Development Studies Research 7(1): 83–92.
Chi, Primus Che; Patience Bulage & Gudrun Østby (2020) Equity in aid allocation and distribution: A qualitative study of key stakeholders in Northern Uganda, PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226612.
Kotsadam, Andreas & Gudrun Østby (2019) Armed conflict and maternal mortality: A micro-level study of sub-Saharan Africa, 1989–2013, Social Science & Medicine 239: 1–2.
Isaksson, Ann-Sofie & Andreas Kotsadam (2018) Chinese aid and local corruption, Journal of Public Economics 159: 146–159.
Isaksson, Ann-Sofie & Andreas Kotsadam (2018) Racing to the bottom? Chinese development projects and trade union involvement in Africa, World Development 106: 284–298.
Kotsadam, Andreas; Siri Aas Rustad; Gudrun Østby; Andreas Forø Tollefsen & Henrik Urdal (2018) Development aid and infant mortality. Micro-level evidence from Nigeria, World Development 105: 59–69.

PRIO Policy Brief

Rosvold, Elisabeth Lio; Halvard Buhaug & Siri Aas Rustad (2020) Development Aid, Drought and Coping Capacity, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Kristian Hoelscher; Andreas Kotsadam; Gudrun Østby & Henrik Urdal (2018) Political Exclusion, Group Inequality and Aid Distribution, Conflict Trends, 9. Oslo: PRIO.
Kotsadam, Andreas; Gudrun Østby; Siri Aas Rustad; Andreas Forø Tollefsen & Henrik Urdal (2018) Does Aid Reduce Infant Mortality? Local-Level Evidence from Nigeria, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Rustad, Siri Aas & Gudrun Østby (2017) Education and Systematic Group Inequalities in Nigeria, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.